Circulating levels of leptin, adiposity and breast cancer risk

Br J Cancer. 2009 Feb 24;100(4):578-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604913.


The present case-control study was to investigate the relationships of plasma leptin level and anthropometric measures of adiposity with the risk of breast cancer. Questionnaire information, anthropometric measures and blood samples were taken before treatment from 297 incident cases with breast cancer and 593 controls admitted for health examination at the Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, between 2004 and 2006. Plasma levels of leptin were measured by RIA. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for assessing the associations. Overall, higher leptin concentrations were significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (OR (95% CI) for top vs bottom tertile of leptin was 1.63 (1.07-2.49), P(trend)=0.009). Waist circumference was a significant anthropometric factor for breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women. Furthermore, the associations of leptin with breast cancer risk remained after adjustment for obesity indices. These results suggest that leptin may have an independent role in breast tumorigenesis. Regardless of the impact of circulating leptin, more research is needed to elucidate molecular mechanisms and local leptin levels that are critical for the development of breast cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference


  • Leptin